Eye For Film >> Movies >> Youth (2015) Film Review
Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
There is no mistaking Paolo Sorrentino’s fertile imagination and visual flair at work in Youth, his ironically titled exploration of the obsessions of both old and younger generations, all set against the backdrop of a Swiss sanatorium.
The images and ideas on offer are constantly engaging while his rapturously roving camera captures vistas, bodies of all shapes and sizes and from all angles, and occasional sorties in to the stunning Alpine scenery.
Michael Caine is perfectly cast as the retired British composer and conductor Fred Ballinger, who is first glimpsed trying to inform an emissary from Her Majesty the Queen that he is not interested in a Royal Command Performance of one of his works much admired by Prince Phillip.
Instead he spends his days with a long-time friend, film producer Mick Boyle (played by Harvey Keitel) ruminating on the ageing process and discussing prostate symptoms as well as ogling after Miss Universe (staying there as part of a prize and played by Madalma Diana Ghenea), who joins them naked and unadorned in an infinity pool. She turns out to be far more intelligent than anyone around anticipated.
Rachel Weisz plays Ballinger’s daughter, whose marriage to Mick’s son is on the rocks although eventually she finds solace with a mountaineer. Meanwhile, Paul Dano plays a former teen star recuperating before his next project for which he provides an astounding preview in full costume and make-up.
Jane Fonda contributes a memorable cameo as an ageing actress who visits Mick to decline the offer of his role about which she is less than complimentary in favour of a TV series which will help to pay off various financial commitments. There is also a turn from pop star Paloma Faith strutting her stuff, although we could have done without it.
Perhaps ultimately the film is not as significant as it thinks it might be but the trappings and style more than make up for any lack of substance.Reviewed on: 20 May 2015